Tax credits for health insurance to increase

ALBANY COUNTY — Because of the American Rescue Plan, recently signed into law by President Joe Biden, New Yorkers will be getting tax credits for health insurance.

The expanded credits will be available through NY State of Health, the state’s health plan marketplace, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a release on Tuesday.

Increased tax credits are available to more than 150,000 consumers who are already enrolled in coverage, further lowering health care costs.

In addition, in June 2021, NY State of Health will for the first time expand tax credits to tens of thousands of additional New Yorkers with higher incomes who, before the American Rescue Plan, did not qualify for financial assistance to lower the cost of premiums.

Cuomo also announced that the 2021 open enrollment period will be extended through the end of this year. The announcements come on the 11th anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law.

More than 5.8 million people, nearly one in three New Yorkers, now access health coverage through New York’s health plan marketplace, the release said; the state has seen an unprecedented reduction in uninsured — from 10 percent to 5 percent between 2013 and 2019.

“As we continue to respond to a global pandemic that has impacted our lives for more than a year, the American Rescue Plan has provided some very good news for New Yorkers,” said NY State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore in a statement. “We are working to make enhanced tax credits available to New Yorkers as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.”

Beginning in early April, enhanced federal tax credits will be available for low- and moderate-income consumers — with incomes up to $51,040 for individuals and $104,800 for a family of four — to lower the cost of Qualified Health Plans.  

By June, NY State of Health will update its system to automatically apply the enhanced tax credits without the consumer needing to take any action to receive them. Also in June, NY State of Health will update its system so that higher income consumers — with incomes above $51,040 for individuals and $104,800 for a family of four — can access the federal tax credits. Consumers at these income levels were not previously eligible for tax credits.

Over the past 11 years, New York has made more than $4.4 billion in federal tax credits available to New Yorkers to lower the cost of Qualified Health Plans purchased through the NY State of Health Marketplace, the release said.

Individuals who are eligible for other NY State of Health programs — Medicaid, Essential Plan, and Child Health Plus — can enroll year-round. As always, consumers can apply for coverage online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov, by phone at 1-855-355-5777, or by connecting with a free enrollment assistor

 

Newest numbers

As of Tuesday morning, Albany County has had 21,796 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 48 new cases since Monday, according to a release from Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy.

Of the new cases, 33 did not have clear sources of infection identified, 13 had close contact with some infected with the disease, and two were health-care workers or residents of congregate settings.

The most recent data shows that 33 percent of Albany County’s population has received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 16.6 percent have been fully vaccinated, compared to the state’s first dose rate of 26.1 percent, McCoy’s release said.

The five-day average for new daily positives in the county has dropped to 59.6 from 68. There are now 495 active cases in the county, down from 505 yesterday.

The number of Albany County residents under quarantine decreased to 1,201 from 1,233. So far, 69,258 residents have completed quarantine. Of those, 21,301 had tested positive and recovered. That is an increase of 61 recoveries since Monday.

There were five new hospitalizations overnight, and there are now 28 county residents hospitalized from the virus — a net increase of five. There are still four patients in intensive-care units, unchanged from Monday.

Albany County’s COVID-19 death toll remains at 365.

Statewide, the infection rate, as of Monday, as a seven-day rolling average, was 3.3 percent, according to the state’s dashboard.

Albany County, also as of Monday, as a seven-day rolling average,  had an infection rate of 1.9 percent.

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